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There's a storm brewing the Mojave Desert -- environmentalists are fighting green power advocates to block construction of 13 alternative energy projects.  (Source: New Cover Magazine)

Led by Senator Dianne Feinstein, environmentalists have succeeded in essentially killing the projects, before the bill to protect the land has even passed.  (Source: Fox News)
Senator is concerned that the plants would damage wildlife

The alternative energy, battery, and alternative fuels movement has been largely guided and advocated by environmentalists over the last couple decades.  However, another important guiding force are those who merely want to improve efficiency and move us, for economic reasons, from depletable resources to sustainable ones.

As the greentech movement gains traction, those forces are finding themselves clashing more often, and some environmentalists are finding it hard to reconcile their loves of green technology and the environment.  A prime example of this is a brewing solar power mess in California.

The Mojave Desert is located in southeastern and central California, as well as Nevada.  The desert is home to Mojave National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park.  The region also receives a tremendous amount of sunlight and wind, so California, in its push to embrace alternative power approved multiple projects to be built in the desert.

Now thanks to Senator Dianne Feinstein, 13 solar and wind projects in the region may see their hopes dashed.  She has authored a bill which seeks to block the projects, which she says is critical to protect millions of acres of land.  The bill would also create two new Mojave national monuments.

Even before the bill sees a single vote, it's already ruined many of the projects.  Many of them have been delayed indefinitely, and the Californian government has changed its mind about routing new "green grid" power lines towards the monument.

Karen Douglas, chairwoman of the California Energy Commission comments, "The very existence of the monument proposal has certainly chilled development within its boundaries."

The land covered in the debate was originally owned by the Catellus Development Corporation.  It was then purchased by environmentalists and donated a decade ago to the government to protect.  Sen. Feinstein says she's just making good on that promise.

She states, "The Catellus lands were purchased with nearly $45 million in private funds and $18 million in federal funds and donated to the federal government for the purpose of conservation, and that commitment must be upheld. Period."

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the environmentalist and a partner with a venture capital firm that invested in a solar developer called BrightSource Energy, blasted Sen. Feinstein's actions, stating, "This is arguably the best solar land in the world, and Senator Feinstein shouldn’t be allowed to take this land off the table without a proper and scientific environmental review."

He says that the proposal will make it much more difficult for California to achieve its goal of having a third of its power provided by alternative energy by 2020.  BrightSource has canceled a large project planned for the monument area.

The Mojave desert, besides being ultra-sunny is home to a host of critters including the desert tortoises, bighorn sheep, fringe-toed lizards and other rare animals and plants.  As green power advocates seek to tap the abundant sunshine and wind energy across the country and the environmentalists fight to block development to protect local species, it seems that these kinds of conflicts will only be growing more heated in the near future.

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RE: Watermelon
By Suntan on 12/22/2009 12:28:29 PM , Rating: 5
Won't happen.

Californians won’t allow them to tear up the land even to build the power lines that are needed to pipe the juice from Nevada to the areas of high population either.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again:

How about a whole bunch of us completely overpopulate a stretch of desert that doesn’t have the natural resources to support us, such that those resources all have to be siphoned off from other areas and piped in from far away. Extra points for finding an area that is inhospitable to society because the ground frequently opens up underneath, and the lands are routinely ravaged by uncontrolled fires every season (this is a desert area with little water to keep vegetation from turning into tinder and seasonal winds that cause routine periods of sustained wind gusts for weeks at a time we are looking for.)

Now this desert stretch that we pick should also be completely cut off from the rest of the continent by various mountain ranges. In addition, the prevailing winds coming off the nearby ocean should effectively choke all of the stink and smog we create right against the mountains so it continually hangs right on top of us.

Then, why don’t we further isolate ourselves voluntarily by erecting national parks and federal reserves around all the surrounding areas that aren’t mountainous.

Finally, let’s b|tch and moan to everyone because someone else can’t magically supply us with the resources that we require to live in an area that we shouldn’t have tried to populate in the first place…


RE: Watermelon
By JediJeb on 12/22/2009 1:56:27 PM , Rating: 2
Fully agree there. I always here comments here complaining about us using up all the fresh water supplies, but here in Ky last year we would have loved to be able to give away all the excess water we got from almost continual rains. The ones that complain the most are those from southern California where it was a desert before people even settled there. If you are going to live in a desert, then learn to live without water.

The best thing for California and probably a lot of the rest of the country would be for most there to move to another state. It would ease the load on the resources there and spread out the load over several state and also spread around the tax base. Of course the politicians would hate it because that would mean their positions would be spread around too.

RE: Watermelon
By xmichaelx on 12/22/09, Rating: -1
RE: Watermelon
By knutjb on 12/23/2009 1:12:53 AM , Rating: 4
Those lines are at max capaicity and environmentalist are preventing any expansion of powerlines. Look at the Tehatchape Range with wind power. The desprately needed power lines to move the power from existing windmills to LA have been tied up in court. It ruins the view. Next they will invent a protected species to stop further attempts once that argument loses in court.

I think all they want is to bring us back into the dark ages or worse yet the elimination of man. Sad how so few can prevent the rest of us from trying to implement solutions. Ironically PG&E is shutting down a power plant in San Diego and moving it, and the jobs, to Mexico. What environmental success was that?

California thinks they are greener by shutting down pollution producers like power plants. Then they convince themselves that they are greener than anyone else. They have only succeded in moving them, their pollution, and the jobs elsewhere. NIMB taken to a new extreme. Hipocrites.

The desert I used to ride motorcycles in is off limits for a turtle I never knew was out there. We enjoyed the desert views but now they are being protected, but for who? Funny the patch where they once held the Barstow to Vegas race was green and full of new growth the following spring...

RE: Watermelon
By kattanna on 12/23/2009 11:11:23 AM , Rating: 4
How about a whole bunch of us completely overpopulate an island 13 miles long and 2 miles wide that doesn’t have the natural resources to support us, such that those resources all have to be siphoned off from other areas and piped in from far away

this "island" in question is manhattan. maybe no one should live there either.

Extra points for finding any major city that is

able to live completely off the land within its boundries.

Finally, let’s b|tch and moan to everyone

aye.. you do love to do that, dont you. have to really wonder why though. take your tired rhetoric elsewhere.

RE: Watermelon
By Suntan on 12/29/2009 11:25:12 AM , Rating: 2
If you think there are high levels of similarity between the social mindset, and geophysical demands, between New York City and Southwest California, so be it. Personally, I see them as being rahter different. Although the Northeast has its issues of self denial, it is in no way even close to that of Southern California.

Lastly, just because you like the word “rhetoric,” that doesn’t justify using it every time you respond to someone that happens to feel differently than you.


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